Return to Transcripts main page
Mueller to Interview Trump Soon; Trump's Allies to Expose FBI Source; Former Intel Chief Weighs In On Mueller Investigation; Man Caught On Camera Blasting Spanish Speakers, Threatening To Call Immigration. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired May 17, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Tune in for "Parts Unknown," Armenia Sunday night at 9 on CNN. Thanks for watching 360. Time now for Don Lemon and "CNN TONIGHT."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Breaking news, we're learning tonight that President Trump may be this closer to sitting down for an interview with Robert Mueller's team. Rudy Giuliani is telling PBS the president's lawyers and Mueller's investigators have been working to narrow the scope of questions.
But Giuliani wouldn't go so far as to say it is a done deal. That's as Politico reports that the team Trump -- that team Trump will hold a series of prep sessions this summer to get the president ready for a potential interview. More on that in just a moment.
We're also learning about a new plea deal tonight. Paul Manafort's former son-in-law has reached a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles that's over real estate deals. Sources tell CNN he will be required to cooperate with other investigators. And it comes as we mark one year since special counsel Robert Mueller began investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election.
And what a year has been. President Trump today sarcastically tweeting, "Congratulations, America." And as he has tweeted 41 times over the past year, calling the investigation a witch-hunt. A baseless charge the president returns to every chance he gets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a total witch- hunt. I've been saying it for a long time.
They have this witch -hunt. They have this witch-hunt. It's a witch- hunt. That's all it is.
They have phony witch-hunts.
It's like a witch-hunt. It's like a witch-hunt. Witch-hunt continues.
The entire thing has been a witch-hunt. This is a pure and simple witch-hunt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So the Mueller investigation is not a witch-hunt no matter how many times the president says it. It is a search for the facts. So let's look at the facts, OK.
The Special Counsel Robert Mueller has brought charges against 19 people and three companies. Those charged include a former White House adviser, three former Trump campaign aides, including the campaign chairman at the time.
A prominent Russian oligarch and a dozen Kremlin-backed trolls. In all, they face a combined 75 criminal charges ranging from conspiracy to bank fraud and tax violations, to lying to the FBI.
Five of those defendants have pleaded guilty including fired national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates. Both are cooperating with Mueller. Dutch lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan who pleaded guilty to lying to the special counsel is behind bars serving a 30-day sentence.
Former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort is fighting Mueller's charges in court. At least 40 people have voluntarily given interviews to Mueller's investigators. At least seven people are known to have testified to a grand jury. Though, that number is probably much higher because the proceedings are secret. All of that in the first year. Not a witch-hunt.
Let's get right now to more breaking news. "The Washington Post" is reporting tonight that the president and his allies are waging a campaign to expose a top-secret FBI source. CNN Political Analyst, Josh Dawsey helped break the story and he joins me now by phone.
Josh, this is new reporting and it's very interesting. Just published in "The Washington Post" about the origin of this claim the president and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, are making about a spy in the campaign. What more can you tell us about this claim?
JOSH DAWSEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, so the president was pretty vociferous this morning in saying that he, a spy was embedded in the Trump campaign. You know, the facts obviously are a little bit more nuanced and complicated as they often are.
What we've reported is that there was an FBI source who, you know, worked before and after the beginning of the Mueller probe, obviously, to provide information to the FBI and the CIA, and those -- that source is a target of a (Inaudible) on the right, folks like Mark Meadows in our story, Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, are really looking to expose more information about how the probes began, the scope of the investigation, and they're trying to say that, you know, the probe and its infancy was not a legitimate one. Obviously Mueller's team and law enforcement officials feel far
differently. What we've seen, Don, is kind of in a tug-of-war struggle between law enforcement officials, obviously, the executive branch, headed by the president, and the congressional allies, you know, of the president on the right who are pushing DOJ and the FBI to reveal far more information about the investigation, information that DOJ and FBI officials say they're not comfortable reviewing. They're fearful it will leak out.
[22:04:59] In fact, in our story tonight, we reported they've already taken steps to protect the source because they're afraid the identity of the person will be revealed and it could be jeopardized.
LEMON: OK. Let me read a portion of your piece, Josh, that, again, just published in "The Washington Post". It says, "The extraordinary push begun by a cadre of Trump boosters on Capitol Hill now has champions across the GOP and throughout conservative media and as of Thursday, the first anniversary of Robert S. Mueller III's appointment special counsel bears the imprimatur of the president. The dispute pits Trump and the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee against the Justice Department and intelligence agencies whose leaders warn that publicly identifying the confidential source would put lives in danger and imperil other operations."
Josh, is this push about an informant or spy taking the same pathway through Capitol Hill that Nunes and the right wing media and so-called secret society did earlier this year?
DAWSEY: Well, it's hard to know, and here's the core of it, Don, that the right has leveled a tough needed criticism against this investigation, you know, trying to cast it as, you know, beyond its skis, far more about this Russian meddling, and the criticisms have really been amplified by a president who in your montage earlier has said repeatedly this is a witch-hunt.
So what DOJ and FBI officials are telling us is we use confidential anonymous sources, we use people to help inform our investigation. We are not necessarily comfortable disclosing all of underbelly of this investigation at this point in time for fear of compromising our sources.
Whether Republicans who are allies with -- allied with the president Republicans and the president are saying, Don, is that, you know, this has gone on for a year, we think this is far of what it should have been and we really want to expose what we see as wrongdoing by the FBI and DOJ.
Now, my view, none of that has been proven at this point. The wrongdoing. But what you see Mark Meadows with the freedom caucus, a big Trump ally, and Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan on the right saying, Don, that we want to try to get more documents to, you know, find if there was any improper activity by the DOJ and FBI.
And that's something the president obviously supports. We've seen his repeated tweets saying that he thinks this investigation, you know, is led by Democrats, that Mueller is biased, that other FBI DOJ officials have conspired against them. Some of those claims obviously are not based on reality. But he is obviously aligned with these folks on the right who are every day going after the credibility of this investigation.
LEMON: Josh Dawsey with the new reporting, the breaking news from "The Washington Post". And Josh, thank you very much. But I'll say it again, President Trump's allies are waging an increasingly aggressive campaign to undercut the Russia investigation by exposing the role of a top-secret FBI source.
Again, our thanks to Josh. I want to bring in now CNN White House Correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, CNN Political Analyst, Ryan Lizza, and CNN Legal Analyst, Laura Coates.
Good evening to all of you. Ryan, first of all, what's your reaction coming on the anniversary of Mueller's investigation?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: To Dawsey's report?
LIZZA: Well, I mean, the first thing to say, if I read the reporting correctly, this informant met with Papadopoulos and Carter Page when they were no longer part of the Trump campaign. So the idea that the FBI surveilled the campaign is obviously a little overwrought and from the New York Times' reporting, in fact, the FBI was so skittish and worried about the politics of this investigation that they -- they weren't as aggressive as some people at the FBI wanted them to be.
So having an informant meet with Page and Papadopoulos who had these suspected ties to Russian intelligence, you know, seems like pretty normal police work to me. The fact that the Trump -- the White House is now calling this (AUDIO GAP) is incredible.
LEMON: As you said, it's a bit overwrought and someone we spoke to who is in law enforcement, a former FBI -- not that we spoke to, "The Washington Post" did, said investigating people isn't the same as investigating the Trump campaign any more than investigating an executive at a Fortune 500 company in connection with embezzlement is an investigation of that company.
LIZZA: And Don, just one --
LEMON: That's a fair distinction.
LIZZA: And one quick addition, remember, up until now, Trump and most people have been trying to say that Carter Page and Papadopoulos were, you know, coffee runners who had very little to do with the campaign.
LEMON: Yes, so, then there you go, now they're saying that they're concerned about the seriousness of these allegations. Laura, why would an informant, Laura, be involved here and would that mean there was at least some evidence or suspicion of some real wrongdoing? [22:10:03] LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there are extremely
strict and established guidelines about what it takes to really be an FBI informant. Not just a matter of somebody saying, hey, come here, meet me by the water cooler I have information for you.
There are guidelines about how to handle them, there are penalties to the agents who mishandle them. There are requirements that the information that they provide be credible, it be checked, it be substantiated in some way to ensure that that person actually is a credible source of information and it's very different than simply a cooperator, a term we often use and hear about people like Rick Gates or other people who -- or Michael Flynn, cooperating with the Mueller investigation.
If there is somebody who they have in a position, there's been a hurdle that they had to overcome to get that person that title and there are a vested interest in their protection. A cooperator ultimately testifies at a trial normally in order to get the person to be convicted.
An informant, somebody who's confidential in that respect, their identity is never to be known because they're uniquely positioned, point in the actual, where they are.
And so this will be a second time that you'll see in as many days that Christopher Wray, the head of the FBI who already said it was not a witch-hunt, will likely be at odds with the president of the United States and any quest to try to reveal the identity of somebody who's a confidential informant.
LEMON: Yes, I need to get to Kaitlan. But quickly, Laura, an informant is not illegal. There's nothing nefarious about having an informant, right?
COATES: No, absolutely not. You can have an informant who provides information because of their position that they're in. It's not a crime in and of itself, at all.
LEMON: Yes. Kaitlan, then tonight Rudy Giuliani was on Fox News saying that Trump precisely explained why he fired Comey to Lester Holt. Here he is tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Every explanation that they need is already given by President Trump in interviews. How about the Lester Holt interview when he explained precisely why he fired Comey? For a non-corrupt reason.
And by the way, he didn't have to have a reason for firing Comey and everything we've learned since then is my goodness, he should have fired him earlier.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Yes. Isn't that the problem? That there have been multiple explanations -- he said in that interview he fired him because of Russia.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Exactly. And that was the first time we had learned that that was obviously suspected, Don. But as you recall, before that, for 48 hours the White House maintained that the reason the president fired him was because of a recommendation from the Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
But watching Giuliani there in that interview, I watched it live earlier, is like watching him try to coach the president ahead of a potential interview with the special counsel Robert Mueller, teaching him what it would be like to say, we were watching a prep session essentially in real-time.
And you see Giuliani sending a certain message, they are going out, defending the president, but also sending certain messages to the president, even some about Jeff Sessions, himself, in relation to this suspected informant that the president is tweeting about.
Of course, Don, for a long time, the president has suspected that there are people in law enforcement who are working actively to undermine him and we've seen this constant fight where the president is pitted against the DOJ and this seems more likely to increase it.
And you could essentially set your timer now that the president will likely tweet about Jeff Sessions in relation to all of this sometime soon after seeing what Giuliani said during that interview.
LEMON: And Ryan, here's what he originally told Lester Holt. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it, and in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What's your reaction, Ryan?
LIZZA: Well, of course, that was the second excuse. Remember, the official reason that he fired Comey originally was memorialized in a memo and that was released by the White House was that he didn't like the way that Comey handled the Clinton investigation.
You know, essentially he felt that Comey was too mean to Hillary Clinton and didn't give her a fair shake. That was laughable at the time. We all knew that that's not what Donald Trump thought.
And, I mean, what is so astonishing about this whole set of stories tonight is, you know, he's saying out loud the things that other president -- that led to, you know, an article of impeachment against Nixon, like if you go back and look at what the judiciary committee, when they wrote up articles of impeachment against Nixon, one of the issues was interfering with a proper investigation at the Justice Department.
Trump does it in real-time. I mean, this Washington Post story tonight, they are talking about outing a government informant, his own FBI's informant. In the Lester Holt thing you just showed, he said straight-up, I fired the guy investigating me because I didn't like the investigation. It was about Russia.
[22:15:02] So I think what's so hard to wrap our head around, why it's so hard to wrap our heads around this is he blurts out the parts that are basically incriminating and he sort of normalized a kind of behavior that for previous presidents was completely out of bounds and literally in the case of Nixon had Congress writing up an article of impeachment.
LEMON: Yes. Well, Jedi mind tricks. Jedi mind tricks. Laura Coates and Kaitlan Collins, thank you very much. Ryan Lizza, stick around.
When we come back, why the president says the summit with Kim Jong-un is still on. And why he is contradicting his own national security adviser.
LEMON: Back now with Ryan Lizza and joining us, CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Max Boot, the author of "The Road Not Taken."
Thank you, both. Welcome back, Ryan. And Max, welcome to the program.
I want to ask you, I want to get your reaction to this new Washington Post reporting that says the president and his allies are waging an increasingly aggressive campaign to undercut the Russia investigation by exposing the role of a top-secret FBI source. That is a campaign, they're waging an effort to do that. What do you think?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it would be shocking coming from any other administration or from any other Congress other than this one, but of course, with this one, we just -- we're kind of used to the fact that Trump and his allies, Devin Nunes and all the rest are mounting a full-throated assault on the rule of law, undermining the Department of Justice, undermining the FBI in ways that are just shocking.
[22:20:02] But, again, it's become the new normal and it should not be the new normal. We should not accept this, but we're used to by now, unfortunately.
LEMON: Yes, it seems like every night there's breaking news where one of the Trump surrogates if it's not Rudy Giuliani, it's someone else making news by floating these--
BOOT: All these so-called law and order republicans who spent share careers castigating Democrats for being anti-police, and they're spending their days trashing the FBI.
LEMON: Yes. Let's talk -- go on.
LIZZA: Don, just quickly, you know, before the break I mentioned how similar what's going on with Trump and this report in "The Washington Post". How similar it reminds me of the first article of impeachment that was drawn up against Nixon.
Just listen to this for a second. This is from the impeachment, the judiciary -- excuse me, the article of impeachment the judiciary committee of Congress drew up against Richard Nixon. Interfering or endeavoring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or the office of Watergate special prosecution force and congressional committees. Does that sound familiar in the context of--
LEMON: It sounds like this.
LIZZA: They put that in an article of impeachment. They thought it was so serious. This is -- these things happen on a daily basis right now with this president.
LEMON: Yes. You're exactly right. I need to move on. I have much -- many more -- couple more topics I want to talk to you guys about. And one is North Korea because Trump is still planning on meeting with Kim Jong-un next month. Next month. And despite that North Korea's recent threats to pull out.
I want to get your take on the president contradicting his national security adviser John Bolton who said Libya could serve as a model for denuclearization. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The model, if you look at that model with Gaddafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him. Now, that model would take place if we don't make a deal, most likely, but if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy. I really believe he's going to be very happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Max, what is he talking about?
BOOT: That's a great question, Don. It's actually frightening that the president of the United States does not know what the hell he's talking about because he's talking about the Libya model being the overthrow of Gaddafi in 2011. When people talked about the Libya model, when John Bolton talks about
the Libya model, what he's actually talking about is the fact in 2003, Gaddafi agreed to give up his weapons of mass destruction, so Trump is basically confused on a very fundamental matter which makes you wonder, like, does he understand anything else that's going on?
The other conclusion, by the way, I take away from this, is that Donald Trump prefers Alfred Nobel to John Bolton because essentially the message from North Korea, I believe that they sent just a few days ago, was to Donald Trump to say, hey, if you want your Nobel Peace Prize, you got to throw John Bolton under the bus, you can't stick with him and the very tough demands he's putting out there and today Donald Trump basically said, that's, don't worry about Bolton, I want that peace prize. That was kind of the message that I got from his remarks.
LEMON: So why would anyone around him, Ryan, or Max, why would anyone around him allow him to go out and make these statements that make him seem that he is unaware or uninformed by advisers or staffers --
BOOT: How can they stop him? How can they stop him. I mean, he's the president of the United States and he doesn't read his briefing paper papers. So how can they stop him?
LIZZA: So, I'm maybe like just a tad more sympathetic to Trump on this one. I think in his very convoluted way, what he's trying to get at here is, you know, it's commonly pointed out that if someone like -- if the North Koreans are looking around the world at other examples of countries giving up their nuclear weapons, it's not a pretty story, right?
Iraq gave up its nuclear and all its weapons of mass destruction and what happened to Saddam Hussein? Right? Libya, Gaddafi got a little bit scared about what happened in Iraq. He decided to enter into a deal with the west, gave up his weapons. Not much longer, he was overthrown.
So I think what Trump in his convoluted way is trying to say that he understands that history and wants as part of this deal to give the North Korean leadership basically a guarantee that that dictatorship will stay in power. Correct me if I'm wrong, Max, but I think that's what he's getting at. That opens up a whole other series of moral questions.
BOOT: Your guess is as good as my guess--
LEMON: I was going to say.
LIZZA: And maybe I'm being too sympathetic.
LEMON: Then if he meant that, why didn't you say -- Ryan Lizza for president. I mean, that's what that means.
LIZZA: I think that's what he's talking about. Some kind of security guarantee.
LEMON: OK. All right. I get you. I get you. Max, listen, you put out this tweet earlier and I just want to get your response.
LEMON: You said, "So if Trump isn't going to insist on Libya's style of disarmament for North Korea, does that mean he will settle for an Iran-style deal like the one he just trashed?" what's the answer to that question?
[22:24:58] BOOT: Well, nobody knows. That's the obvious question when he's saying I reject the Libya-style disarmament that John Bolton wants which is complete instant verifiable disarmament with no rewards up front so anything less than that you're getting to the territory of the Iranian nuclear deal where it wasn't complete disarmament, although they did give up 95 percent of their fissile material but he claimed that was inadequate and it did not deal with other issues like the ballistic missile programs and all these other things.
So these are kind of the two models that are out there. You got the Libya model and the Iran deal. OK. He's rejecting the Libya model, but he's already rejected the Iran model, too, so this is utterly incoherent.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, Ryan. Thank you, Max. I appreciate it.
LIZZA: Thanks, Dn.
LEMON: When we come back, the battle between President Trump and the intel community goes all the way back to the Trump tower briefing on the infamous dossier with three intelligence chiefs. James Clapper was there. I'm going to ask him what he thinks of where the Mueller investigation stands now.
LEMON: President Trump marking the one-year anniversary of Robert Mueller's Russia investigation by calling it as he so often does the greatest witch-hunt in American history. It isn't.
I want to bring in now CNN National Security Analyst James Clapper to weigh in. He is the former director of national intelligence. Good evening, sir.
Director Clapper, it has been one year since the Mueller investigation started. Take a look at this chart. Seventy five criminal charges, 22 companies and people charged. Five guilty pleas. One person sentenced. Is this more than you expected in one year?
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, Don, it is. I think for an investigation that is as young as it is, one year, this has been very, very productive and I personally don't think it's anywhere near done, as much as the president might want it to be.
[22:30:05] I think there's more to come and I always try to -- I always remind myself that whatever we're aware of out here in the open, that Special Counsel Mueller and his team know a lot more.
LEMON: So, I want to -- I want to put this up because the President and his team say that a year is enough, and Mueller needs to wrap it up. Check this out. This is based on the history of the Special Counsel investigation, and if you look at this chart, it shows that one year is nothing.
Look at the Russia probe, OK, that's one year. You look at Valerie Plame, three years. If you look at Watergate, that's four years. And look at the number of convictions. Iran-Contra went on for almost seven years. Whitewater went on for seven years with 16 convictions. I mean, one year is not a long time. So do you think Mueller is just getting started?
CLAPPER: I do. As I say, for an investigation as young as this one, I think they made a lot of progress, and they have -- and it's been very productive.
LEMON: So what's with the rush then? What's with people saying, hey, a year's enough, we need to move on, there's nothing going on here? And then you look at all the people who have been convicted, and you look at the time other investigations took.
CLAPPER: Well, I think, you know, anybody that's in the orb here around whom this investigation may be closing in, would certainly like to get it over with. That's quite understandable, but in the larger scheme of things, I think they got a long way to go, and knowing Bob Mueller as I do, I think he's going to continue to be very methodical, and meticulous as he moves forward.
LEMON: Yes. You would have some insight on this because this whole battle between the President, and the intelligence community arguably started when you, James Comey, and then CIA Director John Brennan, when you went to brief Trump about that infamous dossier before the inauguration. Did you ever think -- did you ever think that we'd end up here?
CLAPPER: No, I didn't, and I was quite heartened by the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday which John Brennan, and Admiral Mike Rogers, and I attended.
Jim Comey was traveling, otherwise, I'm sure he would have been there, in which the committee informed us that their bipartisan finding was to validate the findings of our intelligence community assessment of 16 months ago to include the fact that the Russians were attempting to help Trump win the election, and importantly, validated the soundness, and integrity of our analytic tradecraft.
That set off, I think, was kind of the catalyst for a whole series of sequence of events to include, importantly, the Special Counsel investigation. LEMON: Yes. Director, here's what the President tweeted this
morning, he said, wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama-FBI spied on the Trump campaign with an embedded informant.
Andrew McCarthy says there's probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign. If so, this is bigger than Watergate. That is an extraordinary claim. And based on your experience, what is the likelihood that it's true?
CLAPPER: Well, I think it's -- this is hyperbole. They may have had someone who was talking to them in the campaign, but, you know, the focus here, and as it was with the intelligence community, is not on the campaign, per se, but what the Russians were doing to try to substantiate themselves in the campaign, or to influence, or leverage it.
So if there was someone that was observing that sort of thing, that's a good thing because the Russians pose a threat to the very basis of our political system.
And I think it's hugely dangerous if someone like that is exposed because the danger to that person, not to mention, the reluctance of others to be informants for the FBI, and the FBI gains a lot of valuable information from informants, so to me, this is incredible.
LEMON: Director Clapper, thank you, always a pleasure.
CLAPPER: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: When we come back, a lawyer caught on camera making vile racist threats to people in a New York restaurant simply for speaking Spanish in public. Turns out he has done this kind of thing before. We're going to hear from some of the people who have been on the receiving end of his tirades. That's next.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: I want you to sit back and watch this, because if you haven't seen this on social media, you need to watch this now, OK? It's important. A New York City lawyer launched a shocking racist rant at customers and employees in a restaurant all because they were speaking Spanish.
The whole tirade was caught on camera, and it has gone viral. It is ugly, but it's not the first time he has aggressively confronted strangers this way. CNN's Polo Sandoval is here. He has the story. Polo.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don, the conversation of race in America happening again. This time this racist rant taking place here in New York, when it's one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.
SANDOVAL (on camera): You have nothing to say for yourself, Aaron? SANDOVAL (voice-over): Aaron Schlossberg dodging cameras today. The
New York Attorney avoiding questions about his racist tirade inside a Manhattan restaurant this week.
AARON SCHLOSSBERG, NEW YORK ATTORNEY: Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers. Every person I listen to, he's spoken, she's speaking it. It's America.
SANDOVAL: Emily Serrano shot and shared the viral video.
EMILY SERRANO, CONFRONTED BY SCHLOSSBERG FOR SPEAKING SPANISH: I think the ultimate goal here was to expose him, and make him aware of how wrong what he did was.
SANDOVAL: The New York native says Schlossberg berated her, and the restaurant employees accusing them of being undocumented, and threatened to call immigration authorities on them.
SCHLOSSBERG: I'm calling ICE.
SANDOVAL: Started it all according to Serrano, English wasn't being spoken.
SERRANO: It was simply because a customer in front of him ordered in Spanish, and then he heard my best friend speaking to the gentleman making our food also speaking in Spanish, and it just set him off.
SANDOVAL: This is not the first Schlossberg appearance in a controversial video. Here he is in 2017 shouting at some ultra- Orthodox Jews who were protesting against the state of Israel. Then there's this encounter with a stranger in 2016.
SCHLOSSBERG: What country are you from?
WILLIE MORRIS, CURSED AT BY SCHLOSSBERG IN 2016: Who are you?
SCHLOSSBERG: I'm going to call the police. You can't run into people.
[22:40:00] I'm a citizen here, you're not. You're an ugly (BLEEP) foreigner. So, (BLEEP) you.
SANDOVAL: That so-called foreigner was New Yorker Willie Morris, born in Massachusetts. He's speaking out again hoping this latest incident renews the conversation about race and bigotry in America.
MORRIS: Some people may wonder why do we give this individual a platform, why put this person on T.V. or on a YouTube channel?
SANDOVAL: Yes, and you know what, I struggle with that, too. I was like, do I even want to share this out because we give him more airtime. But you have to call out those wrongs when they happen in order to address it, right?
What little we know about Aaron Schlossberg can be found on his law firm's Web site. He's a commercial and business attorney offering services in multiple languages including Spanish.
SANDOVAL: Well, tonight we've learned Schlossberg no longer has a place to practice. The landlord of the office space that he leased in Manhattan has evicted the attorney. Meanwhile, representative Adriano Espaillat of New York filed a formal complaint against Schlossberg saying xenophobic and racist conduct violates the attorney's rules of conduct on. So the question, will he still be allowed to practice?
LEMON: Good question. Thank you, Polo. Appreciate that.
Joining me is Isaac Saul. He witnessed one of Aaron Schlossberg's ugly tirades. Thank you for joining us. So you had a run-in with him outside of your office, right -- at a protest outside of your office. I want to take -- let's take a look at it, and then we'll talk. Look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHLOSSBERG: (BLEEP). You are not a Jew. You are not a Jew. You are not a Jew. You are not a Jew. You are not a Jew.
ISAAC SAUL, WITNESSED AARON SCHLOSSBERG BERATING PEOPLE AT A PROTEST: Are you a Jew?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So he's saying there, you are not a Jew, and he's screaming expletives. And you shot this video. Tell us about the encounter. What happened?
SAUL: Yes. So, Linda Sarsour was going to speak at a community commencement ceremony, and there was a protest outside my office about her speaking. Pamela Geller was there, Milo Yiannopoulos was there. They were speaking.
And across the street were a group of Haredi Jewish. They are actually pretty controversial in their own way, because they are very pro-Palestine, and kind of anti-Zionist Jews. And after Pamela Geller done speaking, this group of Trump supporters sort of cross the street. And I was interviewing one of the Haredi Jewish there.
And he just started berating them, you know, scream at them like they were fake Jews, telling them F-off, and giving the middle finger, and I actually sort of interject it. I had my camera up.
And I said, are you Jewish? And he said, I am. He said something like I've been to Israel twice. And I said, you don't think these guys are real Jews, who are, like, you know, they're Orthodox Jews? He said, no, they're faking it.
LEMON: You mentioned, you said they were Trump supporters, and then we saw some of the Make America Great Again hats.
SAUL: Yes. LEMON: Do you think the current political climate is contributing to this?
SAUL: You know, it's hard to say. I'm like, I think obviously the President's rhetoric, and the effect it has on how people might treat immigrants across the country is an important conversation to have.
My reporting is much more focused on what he did, and the fact that this was sat game guy who showed up in the Fresh Kitchen viral video. But I think certainly that it's important to talk about, you know, when the leader of the free world says things that are kind of disparaging about immigrants, that has an effect on how people treat them.
LEMON: So when you see this and a lot of people are shocked by it, right? And we're seeing a lot of it just because of these -- because of the phones, right?
LEMON: But you experienced it firsthand, and you saw that the guy who's a New Yorker, but born in Boston, on the street, the video of him. And people don't believe this happens to minorities or to immigrants...
LEMON: ... or to people of color. What do you say to those folks?
SAUL: You know, when I saw this video yesterday morning, I recognized the guy immediately because his face, and just kind of how incensed he was at this protest really stuck with me.
And I can say for certain, from just seeing that video, and seeing, you know, the encounter he had with this guy from Massachusetts you mentioned that, you know, it's -- I mean, it's clear, it's anecdotal, of course, it's one person.
But it's obvious to me this is happening in New York City, this is a guy who I guess apparently passed the bar in New York. He's a lawyer. And he is, you know, full of this anger. So I think it's -- I think it's pretty scary. And I think, obviously, other people have encountered it.
LEMON: I had a friend who sent a note to me saying this guy shows that everyday racism, we think of racists in America, right -- the typical racist as Southern white guy, right?
LEMON: This is happening in New York City. People who work on Wall Street, people who work in law firms, people anywhere, going out to restaurants, you know, in the middle of New York City, hold those same feelings, and we don't know about it, and this is exposing it.
SAUL: Yes, and, you know, I think I should mention, too, that about half the story that I wrote was dedicated to bystander intervention, and how people can respond when they witness this kind of thing, which I think is really important.
[22:45:01] And I encourage people who are watching to read the article, and read those things online, and get that kind of information.
LEMON: Yes, the article is written on -- go to aplus.com, and you can read Isaac Saul's article. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
SAUL: Thank you so much, Don. I appreciate it.
LEMON: When we come back, more and more incidents like this have been caught on camera, and they have gone viral. Does it prove that the face of racism is very different than a lot of people think?
LEMON: The New York City lawyer caught on camera berating people for speaking Spanish, and threatening to call immigration, trying to keep a low profile tonight dodging reporters. I want to bring in now Tim Wise. Tim is an anti-racism writer and activist who's the author of Dear White America. CNN Political Commentators, Tara Setmayer and Steve Cortes are here as well. Good evening. So, Tim --
TIM WISE, AUTHOR, DEAR WHITE AMERICA: Good evening.
LEMON: -- CNN is aware of three separate incidents this attorney has been involved in. And one of the things that's ironic is on his Web site, he offers services in multiple languages including Spanish. When you saw this story -- when I saw the story, I wanted to talk to you, and I wanted to get your thoughts. What do you think?
WISE: Well, look, if the problem were just this one guy, then it wouldn't be worth having this conversation, but the reality is we've got video after video, and incident after incident, just in the last couple of weeks.
[22:50:00] How many white folks are calling police on black people for absolutely no reason? We've got videos of people melting down on YouTube yelling at baristas at Starbucks about bad service, and being discriminated against because they're white men, and they can't catch a break.
We've got story after story of young children, we're talking middle age school kids being taunted with chance of build the wall, build the wall.
And let me tell you this story, this is heartbreaking, a friend of mine who I've known for 35 years, who his family lives in New York, his kid -- middle school kid was on a trip in Washington at the Smithsonian about a week ago, very diverse group of middle school kids.
They come across another group of kids, white kids, a bunch of them with, you know, Make America Great Again T-shirts and hats. And one of the white kids in that T-shirt, look at his T-shirt, points at it, and says this is made of cotton, thanks for picking it.
He said that to one of the black kids. None of the teachers -- none of the chaperones do anything to this kid. And it nearly touches off a fracas, they had to get the kids from the diverse school out of there before anything went wrong.
This is the kind of stuff that is happening for every incident on tape. There are dozens of incidents that are not being caught on tape, and this is filtering down to young children. There is clearly something wrong culturally in this country that we're not addressing.
LEMON: Tara, to you now, I mean -- and listen, Tara, you go New York City at Metropolitan area, we hung out here together, we know what New York City is like very diverse. When you see a young, attractive, successful businessman screaming at people in Manhattan because they're speaking Spanish, what did you think?
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, you know, this guy obviously is an equal opportunity xenophobe. You know, he's -- looking at this spectacle like this, it's preserving of course, you know, what are you doing in New Yorker City yard? Pull up in New Jersey with the melting pot that the northeast like that.
So, to see these kinds of outbursts was like, what is happening. So I will tell you that, you know, after watching more and more videos of this guy, he's obviously got a problem. There is something wrong with him. He's clearly a racist. He's an equal opportunity xenophobe like I said.
It was -- one time it was about Latinos and the other time when someone that was speaking in Islamic language, another time it was just an F-ing foreigner he called someone. So, you know, this guy is an epitome of something that's been unearthed, I think, since in the era of Trump.
And as someone by racial who has lived in New York and New Jersey, who has lived in Washington, D.C., and who's been all over the country -- all over the world, actually, I have never seen the kinds of ugliness that I've seen from people who you wouldn't expect, right, since Trump came into office.
And in the Republican Party, I have to say the party that I have been a part of, and as a conservative for most of my adult life, to sit back, and make excuses for it, or to stay silent, and just kind of act as though this is not happening is very disconcerting for me.
SETMAYER: And they should be ashamed of themselves for not acknowledging that Donald Trump had created an environment to divide people, and make it OK because of the way he behaves in things that he has said.
LEMON: I need to get Steve in. Steve, what do you say?
STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, this guy's an ass. I don't know how else to say it, right? He's an ass. He's making fun of people for speaking Spanish.
It's offensive to everyone, certainly offensive to me as a Latino. To try to fix the behavior of one man, to ascribe the behavior of one jerk to Donald Trump to me is an absurd leap of logic. This guy's a jerk. I don't see the political banter. I just don't.
LEMON: OK. Hang on. Hang on, Tara. Hold on. Hold on, Tara. Tara, hold on. Hold on. Hold on, please, please, please.
LEMON: Every time -- every time we have a video, and we put it on, someone who supports Trump says this is one person, and to ascribe that to one person is just outrages.
And we put on another one, and you say the same thing, and we put on another one, and you say the exact same thing, and another one, and another one, and another one.
So how long does that excuse hold water, that it's just one person? Every single person here has just said it's more than one person.
CORTES: Don, I'll answer that.
LEMON: It's more than one person.
CORTES: Don, I'll answer that. I will answer that, all right. As a minority, all right, as a son of an immigrant who had a dad who by the way spoke with a heavy accent, embarrassed me as a kid -- I'm ashamed it embarrassed me, but...
LEMON: You've got three minorities on this panel. Go on. We get it. Go on. Make your point, please.
CORTES: All right. But, it's an important, Don, OK? It's all I'm saying. I lived this. I get it.
LEMON: You can still be a minority and still be a bigot.
CORTES: No. Hold on...
LEMON: And you can still be a minority and still not be aware of bigotry.
CORTES: Don, I'm still talking.
LEMON: You can still be a minority -- I'm still talking as well.
CORTES: I'm still talking, Don.
LEMON: You can still be a minority.
[22:55:00] And still make excuses for bigots, and racist, and homophobes... CORTES: I'm saying I get the idea...
LEMON: ... and xenophobes, and anti-Semites.
CORTES: I get the idea of being other is what I'm saying. I get the idea -- the idea or being out of the norm, right, or speaking with an accent, or speaking a different language. I get it totally. I get it in a visceral sense. I also believe this about America, thank goodness. This country, which is...
LEMON: Can we stick to the point? Steve, stick to the point. Let's talk about this issue.
CORTES: Don, I'm on point. Can you let me make my point?
LEMON: I've got one minute.
LEMON: Can you just get to the point?
CORTES: You're not even letting me get to my point.
LEMON: It's taking too long. Come on, move it along.
CORTES: Fundamentally racist -- all right, I'll be quick. This country is once fundamentally racist that believed that black people could be owned, elected twice a black man named Barack Hussein Obama.
WISE: He had a lot of time. He took up a lot of air.
WISE: If Barack Obama winning twice means that racism is fundamentally eradicated then I guess Steve would argue that there's no really sexism in Pakistan because a woman, Benazir Bhutto, was elected there twice. That's an ignorant seventh grade level argument that was just made on national television. Surely -- surely we can do better than that.
SETMAYER: But we also can just use the examples of Donald Trump himself. The things that he has said from, you know, the Judge Curiel stuff, that he couldn't be a good judge because he was a Mexican.
You know, the comments that he had made, the bigoted comments over and over 2again have given people like this jerk off license to be able to think it's OK to behave this way.
Look at how many people running for congress have said things that are inappropriate as Republicans. Look at what Blankenship did in West Virginia -- thank goodness he lost. He was talking about China men in Mitch McConnell's family. And you've got this guy down in Georgia running around in a deportation bus for goodness sake.
SETMAYER: This kind of stuff you would never see --
LEMON: Steve, go ahead. Go ahead, Steve.
CORTES: Look --
SETMAYER: But my point is that these people...
CORTES: This guy --
SETMAYER: -- are feeling emboldened to do it because the President of the United States says...
CORTES: No, they're not. No, they're not.
SETMAYER: -- there are good people on both sides from Charlottesville.
LEMON: OK. Let him respond. Let him respond.
CORTES: Here's the thing, OK, this Schlossberg, again, I don't know how many ways I can see it. He's apparently a racist, he's an ass, he should be paid no attention to, but here's the thing...
WISE: He gave some $500 --
CORTES: So what? What does that mean?
SETMAYER: People feel it's OK to behave this way at pep rallies. Why is it OK?
LEMON: Let him finish.
CORTES: Racism has become -- it has become not the Scarlet A, but the Scarlet R, become the Scarlet letter of the left. When they don't talk policy -- when you all don't want to talk about what we are doing in the Trump movement for minorities, by the way, for their prosperity and security, what you do is call us racist, and it's a way of aligning us, it's a way of marginalizing us, and taking us out of the --
LEMON: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Hang on. Hang on, Tim. Steve, why are you personalizing this? No one called you a racist.
CORTES: No one.
LEMON: Yes. You know what --
CORTES: I've been called a racist once.
LEMON: So you're saying -- you're saying someone from the left --
LEMON: You're saying someone from the left told this guy to go into a restaurant and call out people for --
SETMAYER: Or this guy or the one guy at the Trump rally that taunts the black guy, or Trump saying...
CORTES: What I'm saying is I...
SETMAYER: there are people on both sides, making excuses for David Duke --
CORTES: Because I am a supporter of Trump, I have been affixed to this jerk even though I have nothing to do with him. And here's the dumb thing, when children are walking around --
LEMON: Steve, he's wearing a Make America Great Again hat.
CORTES: When children are walking around in Trump gear, talking to black children about picking cotton -- let me finish. I didn't interrupt you, really, except for the $500 comment. Let me finish.
If anyone had been walking around in Obama shirts and hats in 2008 attacking people verbally, or making $500 contributions to Barack Obama's campaign you know full well that you would have made an issue of it, and you would have ask Barack Obama to condemn those people --
WISE: No, I wouldn't.
CORTES: And certainly not ask --
WISE: No, I wouldn't. No, I wouldn't.
CORTES: Yes, you would.
WISE: Look, the large numbers -- OK, when you have tens of millions of people you're going to have crazies on both sides. This guy's a crazy. There are crazies on the left. That is the law of large numbers.
SETMAYER: So you don't think it comes from the top when President Trump makes the comments he makes, that doesn't embolden these crazies to come out? I mean, I can remember when Bill Buckley, who is a conservative hero of mine cast out the John Burke Society because of how inappropriate in the fanatic that -- fanatical positions that they were taking.
He took a stand because it was the right thing to do. Why can't you just take a stand, and condemn the kinds of things that Donald Trump has said that's emboldened these kinds of people, and emboldened these nut cases, fanatics, and what does make...
CORTES: Tara, if we're going to follow this logic --
SETMAYER: -- and put an arm next to their name.
CORTES: If we're going to follow this logic to the shooter of Congressman Scalise, all right -- is that Bernie Sanders fault because he happens to be a supporter of Bernie Sanders? I think that loop less logic.
SETMAYER: If Bernie Sanders was running --
CORTES: But by you logic --
LEMON: Did Bernie Sanders -- hold on --
CORTES: ... ever bit of as complicit --
LEMON: OK, here's the difference --